Thursday, August 18, 2011

Greek night in the kitchen

Greek night was fun. The only issue was that we started the fasolada soup waaaay too late and it wasn't ready before 11, so I didn't have any. I was also told by Cheryl Prater that my saganaki was weak sauce because I didn't light it on fire. She's my Greek food guru by the way. The Braim/Horta was really good. We don't have much okra so it was a nice change. Aderet as always came through with great bread (psomi) and for dessert she made loukamades. We know them as Sfinge, which is what they call them in Djerba. We had a neighbor whose family is Djerban and she used to make them for special occasions.

I'll try to put up a recipe later.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Live Blogging Thai Cooking with my girls

This is mostly a place holder until about 7 PM Israel time. (Noon Eastern)
We're making Thai food.
On the menu Ho Mok Pla, Sate with crispy rice noodles and Khao niao mamuang!

7:15 PM Israel Time
We're just getting things together!

Here's the rice for the Khao niao mamnaug, it's been soaking for the last few hours.
 7:45 PM Here are our rice noodles! They're going to be the crispy base for the sate.
 The girls are helping, clean the fish and prepare the mixture for the Ho Mok Pla.
8:00 The fish is being finely diced. It will get mixed with eggs, coconut milk, green curry paste, red chili, and some lime zest as well as a squeeze of lime. That's being done by Aderet (a.k.a. #2of8)

8:25 The sate sauce is put mixed up and Emunah (a.k.a. #3of8) is cutting up the chicken to be marinated. The sweetened coconut milk is done for the dessert. I'm heating the oil for crisping the noodles.

8:45 The first test batch of Ho Mok Pla (not a Klingon name) is out! A smashing success for those who like their food extra spicy. Which is everyone except my wife. Really tasty with a nice hot finish.
9:45 Sorry for no updates. Blogspot isn't behaving.  

Okay, it's the next morning. Blogger kept crashing Firefox, I even tried Chrome and it wasn't working. 
Here are the pictures from the rest of the evening.

Here's the sate grilling away. The chicken ended up beautifully moist and the peanut sauce had a nice tang with out undertones of coconut. The peanut flavor was also wonderfully subtle. I forgot to scatter crushed peanuts on top which would have given it a nice textural crunch though.
All in all it was pretty successful. I need to work on the crispy fried rice noodles, they were a bit too oily. I should make them in advance next time so they have more time drain. Also, we were using the Wok to steam the fish custard, so I used a flat bottomed sauce pan, so I don't know if that was an issue.

The dessert was pretty delicious.  Khao niao mamuang was wonderful, the rice wasn't overly sweet and the coconut came through, the mango really matched up with, complimenting the flavor. I think the only thing I changed would have been to chop up some mint and fold it through the rice just before serving.

Here's how we made the Ho Mok Pla:

8 oz of a delicate white fish fillet. We used St. Peter's fish, but sole or flounder should be good.
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 eggs
2 Tbsp green Thai curry (good especially if you can't find Kaffir lime leaves)
1 Lime, both the zest and the juice
10 Basil leaves. (If you can get Thai basil, that's best. You can also use Coriander/Cilantro or regular fresh basil leaves)
Something to steam it all in. We used baking parchment, but it should be done in banana leaves. You can also use shot glasses or ramekins.

Make sure there is no skin or bones left on the fish, then dice it finely. In a separate bowl mix all the other ingredients together. I'd say taste it first. If you like it hotter dice up a couple red chilies and add them in. These will also add nice red flecks which will look nice. Mix the egg stuff into the fish. If you're going to do it in banana leaves or parchment, take a circle, put a large dollop in the middle, put a basil leaf or sprig of cilantro on top, fold over and staple it shut. Or use toothpicks. Or pins. The other option is to fill shot glasses or ramekins. 
You'll need a steamer at this point. If you don't have a one then you can improvise, a wok with a wire trivet worked for us. Fill with water to an inch or two bellow the bottom of what ever you're using and cover, bring to a fast boil. Put the packages or cups on the rack and let steam for 5 minutes. 
If you've done it in cups then just let them cool down, garnish with a fresh bit of basil/cilantro and serve with a spoon. If you've gone the package route then open up and plate it. Be careful, these things have a powerful kick. I ate a half dozen they were that good. Wonderful lime flavor, soft custardy texture, a hint of coconut and basil all tied together with the heat. We plated it with a few slices of home made pickled cucumber to add some acidity to the mix and help cool the heat.